Friday Favorites - Race Prep!
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It's here! It's here! Taper crazies, taper tantrums, (half) maranoia - all the insanity that comes with rest and nerves leading up to race weekend. The Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh half marathon is this weekend and I'm giving mile 7.5 to 8.7 a big ol' stink-eye for that ugly hill I'll have to run up. (And that's already the toughest section of a half marathon in my opinion, so I don't need any hill to make it worse!) Fine, fine, after a weekend on the Appalachian Trail I shouldn't complain about a measly ol' 163 feet elevation change. I shouldn't complain...but I still will. Bah!
But since it's Friday I've got a few things on my radar to celebrate the weekend!
1) Born to Run
Y'all, if you haven't read (or listened to) this book*, stop what you're doing and go read it right now. I'll wait. I listened to it on audiobook this fall and I've wanted to shout its praises from the hilltop for months, but I'm a slacker and have epically failed with Friday Favorite posts, so that plan fell through. "Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen" pulls together characters, science, geography, and races and gives you a story that is compelling even to those who hate running. (Don't believe me? Just read the Amazon and Goodread reviews!) It will leave you in awe about what the human body can do and will make you appreciate running buddies and athlete communities.
2) Runner tracking
Hey! Did you know you can track runners at Rock 'n' Roll Raleigh?! Actually...I'm not advocating that you track my running because I've been all over the place with performance this training season - clocking some slow runs that felt like agony and some of my fastest runs that felt amazing - so I'm anxious about this race, buuuuut if you know someone else who is running you can track them! http://www.runrocknroll.com/runner-tracking/
3) Races for a cause
I'm totally selling out running a for-profit race this spring (gahhhh I'm sorry!!) but the good news is the Not So Normal race in Carrboro (the same race I ran last spring) is also this weekend and they are awesome about supporting local non-profits in the area. As part of their bib pick-up they're collecting kids' books for First Pages and food items for TABLE. Yup, it's good to be Not So Normal.
You don't really realize just how repetitive the motion of running is until you try doing something else. I had decided not to play soccer this summer or fall season because of a full schedule and the propensity of picking up odd injuries here and there but when I got the desperate text asking if I could please sub for a team that was going to be drastically short some placers I said yes, and on Thursday evening I pulled my soccer bag from the back of my closet and laced up the cleats.
At some point this weekend while working through the piles of periodicals that I've amassed throughout my house over the past year I got restless. "I might go on a run. Did I do my long run yesterday? Or was it the day before? I don't know, but I think I'll go on a run." And so, forgetting that I'd run seven miles on Saturday morning, on Sunday afternoon I went for a little run. And I kept going for six miles. I suppose when you get to the point that six or seven mile runs don't really feel much like long runs anymore then it might be time to consider the full marathon.
It's not often you see a world record broken. On Friday night the world record for the fastest denim mile run by a woman was smashed on the track of Meredith College as part of the Sir Walter Miler races. With an exciting line-up of denim runners, local running teams tackling the 4x400 relay, and a talented line-up of men's and women's elites, it was a great stage for world records and chasing the sub-4:00 mile time.
I'd always wanted to run the Bull Moon Ride and Run. It's a must-do local race that benefits Habitat for Humanity of Durham, a nonprofit I've volunteered and fundraised for previously, and for some reason the last few years I've been out of town or I've had some other conflict. So when Travis and Kristen and I decided to run the race this year, I was stoked. I was driving to downtown Durham when I realized this would be my first 5K race. I did things a little backwards starting with five half marathons, three 10-milers, a few 5-milers, an 8K and a 200-mile relay race. But I'd never raced a 5K, and it was electric in downtown Durham by the time I arrived at the start line.
Ugh. Summer. Sure, there are lots of things to love like extra daylight and beach trips, but 100 degree heat and 100% humidity? Nope. I do not love those things, and I especially don't love running in those conditions. So what do you do when it feels like your skin is about to melt off your body and sizzle onto the pavement, but you want to keep your running fitness? Try other workouts! Here are my 5 favorites.
Apparently I've talked about a lot of reasons to love running over the years. And while some reasons are trivial and some are life-changing, there's always another reason to run.
It was the summer solstice and I was waiting for a group of cyclists to come down the American Tobacco Trail. I was hoping for a few photos of cyclists on the trail and had tentative plans to meet a group somewhere along the Wake County section, but with no firm confirmation and the sky darkening with clouds I found a scenic bridge and settled down to wait.
I've always wanted to run with bulls. And while the dangerous event in Pamplona may not be the sort of adrenaline rush I've been craving, I still had the chance to run with the bulls of Bull City, my hometown Durham, NC.Travis, Kristen and I caught up with some other Fleet Feet runners at the start line of the race, all us bulls eager for the scenic and slightly hilly race.
"I hate this course." "Why do I do this to myself?" "I'm never running this race again!"We say this every year, and yet every year we run the Tar Heel 10 Miler. It's iconic for Chapel Hill fans who run. The course runs through campus and hits up highlights like Franklin Street, the Old Well, the bell tower, and the stadium. But as a fellow runner around mile 4 quipped, "Well they sure don't call it Chapel FLAT!"
It's always exciting to get a new medal, but where do you put it? For my first couple race medals I just draped them on the frame of a mirror, but a few more medals later and my poor mirror was sagging under the weight, so I just stuffed the medals into a bin. But a bin is a sad place for medals to gather dust and feel neglected, so I started looking for a medal rack. I wasn't thrilled with any of the commercial medal racks available. They were cute, but they just didn't fit me, so after a while I just decided to build my own race medal rack.
Do you have any running favorites on your mind this week? Let me know in the comments!